Ontario’s faith-based exemptions allow and mask barriers to medical assistance in dying

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  • jonathan says:

    perhaps before you thrust your enlightened views on these faith-based institutions from your ivory towers, you should take a turn scrubbing bed pans that the non- or poorly compensated nuns chose to take on as part of their faith-life. Secularists so easily forget that it was religious commitment, particularly Christian, that established hospital and hospice-care in the Western world.

  • Alexandra says:

    I think your point who tends to run palliative care centres is an extremely interesting one. Though many communities may have another option, in terms of a hospital/care centre, they may not have the same level of expertise in palliative care.

    It’s also interesting to me when wording like “force faith-based hospitals to perform medical assistance in dying” is used (another article), as it tends to personify the institution. I think its more accurate to say that it would forcing faith-based hospitals to allow medical assistance in dying, as realistically it is the physicians and other healthcare practitioners who are actual performing the care; care that has its bases in a relationship, care that is determined by both provider and patient, and care that is unique and contextual. They are people, with beliefs, who may consciously object, which lies in stark contrast, to me, to an institution with a policy.

  • Elizabeth Hopkins says:

    Great article. A very tough call. While I believe strongly in patients being able to access Medical Aid in Dying, it’s also difficult for me to be comfortable with forcing institutions to forego their belief systems as well. Perhaps we need more institutions that are not faith based and funding adjusted accordingly for those who do not offer MAID?

  • Tom Closson says:

    Jocelyn, I agree with your position on this. The Ontario Government should not have passed legislation related to medical assistance in dying that puts institutional rights before patient rights. This is morally and ethically wrong.


Jocelyn Downie


Jocelyn Downie SJD, FRSC, FCAHS is a University Research Professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine at Dalhousie University. She is also a member of the Dalhousie Health Law Institute.

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